Our herd is presently around seventy or so, with the population increasing during kidding season. Our herd’s foundation is built on some very strong influential bloodlines and we are breeding for well conformed animals that show well and that serve the demands of the meat industry.
Our goats are cared for with stringent health and management styles, allowing them to reach their full potential. We spend a certain amount of time every day just “goating”which is one of the best ways to know what your goats’ normal behaviors are. This familiarity with their normal routine means that health issues are noticed before they become a big problem.
Our goats get a fresh constant supply of clean water. And we offer our entire herd (free choice and year round) goat specific loose minerals and sodium bicarbonate as a rumen buffer helping them to best utilize their feed. We are lucky to be located in the South as this allows us to supply our herd with approximately nine months of good quality Bermuda and Fescue pasture and forage mix, with Coastal Bermuda mixed hay (winter feed) which ensures that the goats always have the appropriate amount of roughage in their diet. We also supplement their feeding regimen with a 14% or 16% feed ration (grain) whenever we feel it is necessary – either to spoil them or to give added nutrition during kidding and breeding season.
Once spring weather officially arrives, the grain is drastically reduced with only the lactating does receiving as much as the want. Kids have access to a large creep feeding area that allows them to eat both their hay and grain without any competition from the mature animals in the herd. Another practice we follow is that as long as we have kids on the ground, we feed a grain containing a coccidiostat.
Twice monthly, each goat is observed for general health and to see if a hoof trim or a “physical” of sorts is needed … it is at that time that we look through the animals medical history record to see if any vaccinations or supplemental care is needed. This allows us to keep accurate and up to date records on each animal in our herd. We do not deworm every animals on a regular basis like most farms do, we use the FAMACHA technique and deworm only the animals that need it. We cull our problem goats and seem to be keeping a handle on the Humonchus’.
We have a closed herd and have built our herd to an adequate number now and do not have to purchase from others. We have been lucky and fortunate (we learned early on from our mentor farmer) to maintain a negative CAE, CL, and Brucelosis herd since we established our farm. Even though we have a closed herd, we are always looking for a breed that would be a good cross with Boers or a goat that would add better traits. On that rare occasion that we do bring in a new animal, our protocol is to quarantine for 45 days and blood test for the above diseases. And, no we do not “pimp” out any of our bucks.
We urge all goat owners to learn about goat diseases and problems associated with goats.
CL, CAE, and Brucelocious are diseases that are serious problems that every goat owner needs to know about and deal with appropriately and credibly. Internal Parasites (Homonchus Contortus), Mastitis, and Footrot are three management problems that producers should be concerned about.
Many farm managers and owners are reluctant to share their management style or how the control certain problems, but we try to share whatever knowledge we have as the goat industry is very specific to just goats and many medicines that dispensed to other animal breeds are not practical for goat health. Many medicines that are designed for livestock are off-label for goats, so a “veterinarian that knows goats and goat medicines” (not just any veterinarian) should help you decide what to use. Find a mentor and learn what works on goats because what works on most livestock animals may not work on goats and if the wrong method is used, it could cause sickness or death in goats.
If you want to share your ideas or thoughts, please feel free to contact us.
Check out our Goat News and Events Section for new ideas.